Article

Some methodological issues related to corpus-based investigations of recent syntactic changes in English

Mark Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0016

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Some methodological issues related to corpus-based investigations of recent syntactic changes in English

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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This article focuses on “observing recent change” in the English language. It includes sections that deal with syntactic changes that have taken place primarily in the past half-century or so, whereas others can be traced to the 1800s. In all cases, the changes are still underway and exhibit interesting genre-based and stylistically-based variation in contemporary English. This introduction discusses methodological issues, paying special attention to the types of corpora and text archives that can provide us with the most useful data for looking at recent change in English. It first looks at large text collections such as Google, Google Books, and large text archives. It then examines “structured” corpora and considers the question of size—especially the way in which large corpora like the Corpus of Historical American English provide insight that might not be available otherwise. Also covered in the discussion are “monitor corpora,” an example of which is the Corpus of Contemporary American English.

Keywords: syntax; English; monitor corpora; text archives; Google; Google Books; Corpus of Historical American English; Corpus of Contemporary American English; structured corpora

Article.  7760 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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